Japanese Restaurants in Seattle


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  • Sushi Kappo Tamura
    The Three Faces of Sushi Kappo Tamura Kappo-Style Dining The Japanese have plenty of words for different styles of dining, from omakase (chef’s selection) to izakaya (a Japanese pub with great food). But kappo might not be on the tip of many tongues. Legendarily rooted in Osaka starting in the 19th century, kappo dining puts the chef on display in the dining room, where diners can watch their meals form before their very eyes. Even better, there are no imaginary lines here between cook and customer: the other distinctive part of kappo are the many close interactions between the diners and chef, making it a learning experience for both parties. Local Everything, Always You could say it’s the Japanese way, but here, more than anything it’s the Tamura way: creating a menu based on whatever fresh, local food chefs can obtain that day. With produce plucked from the rooftop garden or shrimp caught in Skagit Bay, chefs create a brand-spankin’-new menu every day. That means you may not have much control over what’s offered, but with the chefs’ degree of skill in the kitchen, that essentially doesn’t matter. Overachiever When Seattle Magazine named Sushi Kappo Tamura the Best New Restaurant in 2011, it lauded it’s sushi as the best in Seattle. That might seem like a big enough accomplishment in itself, but it’s not the only trophy in this restaurant’s case. Seattle Magazine readers’ choice voters agreed with the critics, deeming it Best Sushi in 2014. Travel + Leisure called it one of the Best Sushi Restaurants in the States. Maybe it’s the freshness of every ingredient or Kyoto-born chef Taichi Kitamura’s constant strive for perfection, but Sushi Kappo Tamura keeps racking up accolades that leave the rest of the pack lagging behind.
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    2968 Eastlake Ave E
    Seattle, WA US
  • U:Don
    U:Don Fresh Japanese Noodle Station: A User’s Guide Fresh Handmade Noodles | Soups and Sauces from Scratch | Sanuki-Style Udon Sample Menu Noodles: sauce udon, hot or chilled and lightly dressed in dashi-shoyu sauce Side: chicken karaage Dessert: flan Raves “One reason for the hype is the perfectly firm and chewy homemade udon.” — Seattle Weekly “The curry udon has a savory, earthy kick. But you can’t go wrong with any of the udon dishes, especially those in broth.” — The Stranger “On a warm day, try the zaru udon, the thick noodles with soy dipping sauce, ginger and scallions.” — Seattle Magazine Inside Tips Food is ordered cafeteria-style, so you’ll step up to the counter, choose your noodles and the accoutrements that go with it—such as the tempura flakes that add crunch to each bowl. While you’re waiting in line, watch as fresh noodles are made in the open kitchen. Vocab Lesson Dashi: a fish stock or broth used in Japanese cuisine that’s typically made with dried kelp and bonito flakes. Karaage: a Japanese technique in which chicken (or meat or fish) is marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, coated in flour or starch, then deep-fried. While You’re in the Neighborhood Before: Catch an indie flick at Grand Illusion Cinema (1405 NE 50th Street). After: Walk off your meal and learn about dinosaurs at the same time with a visit to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street).
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    4515 University Way NE
    Seattle, WA US
  • Maneki
    The Three Faces of Maneki Restaurant Japanese–American History Widely considered the oldest restaurant in Japantown, Maneki has served Seattle since 1904. But just as Maneki’s family-style food adheres to Japanese tradition, its long, storied history is inextricably linked with the Japanese–American experience. Its owners spent World War II in the internment camps, leaving the original location to fall into ruin. Nevertheless, after the war, the family picked right up where they left off, and since then Maneki has continued to uphold the proud heritage of Japan. A former dishwasher, Takeo Miki, even went on to become the nation’s 66th prime minister. Provincial Cuisine As the Seattle Times put it, an array of “country comfort foods” anchors Maneki’s menu. In addition to preparing traditional maki rolls and miso soups, the cooks steam salmon in foil pouches and broil black cod marinated in miso. Even the appetizers—such as the “soft and custardy” agedashi tofu—are created with comfort in mind, pairing with the many varieties of sake, beer, or liquor available at the bar. Japanese Culture In 2010, the James Beard Foundation designated Maneki one of America’s Classics, deeming it an exemplary ambassador of Japanese–American culture. Beyond the restaurant’s rich history and authentic cuisine, other elements are undeniably Japanese. Hot sake fills the square boxes known as masu that sit above the bar, and private tatami rooms allow patrons to eat in the traditional fashion of sitting on the floor.
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    304 6th Ave S
    Seattle, WA US
  • Shiro's
    Shiro Kashia has certainly earned the title of master chef. As a teenager, he left his home in Kyoto, Japan in favor of training under some of Tokyo’s most lauded chefs. Strenuous apprenticeships prepared him for an even bigger move to Seattle in 1967, where he opened a full-service sushi bar. Twenty years later, he sold what had expanded into a chain of sushi bars and became a consultant for Westin hotels; it wouldn’t be long before he found his way back to the kitchen, though. Shiro’s opened in 1994. At his self-named eatery, chef Shiro puts a local twist on the sushi for which he is so famous. He maintains his traditional Japanese technique, but lets local seafood and ingredients, such as albacore tuna, inspire his menu. He continues to make daily trips to seafood suppliers to make sure his selections are as fresh as possible and that they haven’t told any dolphins, whales, or sharks where he takes the fish he buys. It’s clear that his time-honored rituals—and his rigid standards for freshness and flavor—have made a lasting impression: “[Shiro’s] set[s] the bar that others aspire to,” according to a Zagat review.
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    2401 2nd Ave
    Seattle, WA US
  • Kushibar
    For fresh maki, Seattle's Kushibar has got you covered. The menu at Kushibar does not include any low-fat options, so come ready to indulge. Kushibar's fully stocked bar is a perk for patrons who enjoy a fine wine (or more) with their meal. Swing by after work for happy hour, featuring a wide range of discounted drinks and appetizers. Summer meals will taste even better when you enjoy them on Kushibar's gorgeous patio. You can tote your laptop here to take advantage of the free wifi. Between the music and the crowds, Kushibar's noise levels can be intense. The restaurant can get thronged with crowds on Fridays and Saturdays, so book your table ahead of time through their reservation system. Kushibar's dress code is casual — diners are welcome to dress up (or down) to their comfort level. If you need to get somewhere fast, the restaurant also serves up grub to go. Street parking is readily available near Kushibar's 2nd Ave location. The average check at Kushibar will stay below $30 per person, so it's a relatively affordable option. Kushibar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so stop by whenever is most convenient for you.
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    2319 2nd Ave
    Seattle, WA US
  • Umi Sake House
    When the staff at Umi Sake House say they want to make guests feel at home, they mean that quite literally. The entire layout mirrors a streamlined Japanese country home, which makes sense given the informal, izakaya-style dining experience the sake and sushi bar hopes to foster. Seated in a bright red modular chair or cozied up on a couch, diners taste 18 types of sashimi and nigiri and more than 50 varieties of roll. These delicacies are ballast for a huge list of hot and chilled sakes, available by the glass, bottle, or beaker borrowed from a Japanese scientist. Newcomers to this complex sip needn't fear: servers are happy to help guide guests' selections or delineate the difference between a nigori and a junmai sake. Summing up the Umi experience in naming it the city's Best Sushi in 2012, the Stranger concluded that "Umi Sake House is the whole package." That package can be sampled as late as 2 a.m., as CBS Seattle noted in placing Umi on its Best Late Night Eating in Seattle list.
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    2230 1st Ave
    Seattle, WA US

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